Manchester United has announced that Jose Mourinho has left his role as manager.
The club said that the Portuguese has left “with immediate effect”.
It comes two days after United’s 3-1 loss to arch-rivals Liverpool.
That defeat has left them 19 points off the Premier League leaders in sixth place, and 11 points off the top four.
Mourinho took charge at United, succeeding Louis van Gaal, in the summer of 2016 and they won the Europa League and League Cup in their first season under the Portuguese.
The Red Devils then finished second in the Premier League last term, before making a troubled start to this season, winning only seven of 17 league games and being knocked out of the League Cup at home by Championship club Derby.
READ MORE: Jose Mourinho at Manchester United – a timeline
A statement from United this morning said: “The club would like to thank Jose for his work during his time at Manchester United and to wish him success in the future.
“A new caretaker manager will be appointed until the end of the current season, while the club conducts a thorough recruitment process for a new, full-time manager.”
Michael Carrick will take charge of training today, before an interim boss is appointed. That move is expected to happen before the end of the week.
A man with a reputation for having difficult third seasons throughout his career could not change that pattern at Old Trafford, with recent months being marked by high-profile clashes with star players Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, and apparent discontent over the club’s failure to sign a defender in the summer.
The final straw came at Anfield on Sunday, when two late deflected goals from Xherdan Shaqiri condemned United to defeat, leaving Mourinho with only seven wins and five draws from 17 league games this season.
In January this year, United handed Mourinho a contract extension until 2020, but have now parted with the former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss.
United intend to finally bring in a head of football, reporting to executive vice-chairman Woodward, to oversee football operations – a role that it is understood Mourinho had a long-standing reluctance about.
But such changes in the long-term interests of the club are why United’s hierarchy felt it important to act now, with a period as unsettling as it has been disappointing leading to concerns growing over the lack of progress in terms of results and style of play.
The decision to sack Mourinho will be costly – reports suggest the pay-off could be as high as £22.5million – but that figure pales into insignificance when it comes to the 11 players that he was allowed to bring in at a cost of circa £400m.
– Digital Desk and PA